EDITOR’S NOTE: We have two pairs of tix to see Todd Rundgren @ the Troc on Saturday where he will be performing his new album, State, in its entirety plus ‘dance versions’ of his classic songs. To qualify, send us an email at FEED@PHAWKER.COM with the phrase HELLO IT’S ME in the subject line. Include your name and mobile number for confirmation.
WIKIPEDIA: Todd Harry Rundgren (born June 22, 1948) is an American multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and record producer. Hailed in the early stage of his career as a new pop star, supported by the certified gold solo double LP Something/Anything? in 1972, his career has produced a diverse range of recordings as solo artist, and during the seventies and eighties with the band Utopia. He has also been prolific as a producer and engineer on the recorded work of other musicians. During the 1970s and 1980s, Rundgren engineered and/or produced many notable albums for other acts, including Straight Up by Badfinger, Stage Fright by The Band, We’re an American Band by Grand Funk Railroad, Bat Out of Hell by Meat Loaf, and Skylarking by XTC. In the 1980s and 1990s his interest in video and computers led to his “Time Heals” being the eighth video played on MTV, and “Change Myself” was animated by Rundgren on commercially available Amiga computers. His best-known songs include “Hello It’s Me” and “I Saw the Light“, which have heavy rotation on classic rock radio stations, and “Bang the Drum All Day“, which is featured in many sports arenas, commercials, and movie trailers. Although lesser known, “Couldn’t I Just Tell You” has had a major influence on artists in the power pop musical genre.
Rundgren was born in Upper Darby, at the western city limits of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Ruth and Harry Rundgren. He began his career in Woody’s Truck Stop, a Philadelphia-based group based on the model of Paul Butterfield Blues Band. However, Rundgren and bassist Carson Van Osten left the band to form the garage rock group Nazz in 1967 with Thom Mooney (drums) and Robert “Stewkey” Antoni (vocals and keyboards). The group gained minor recognition with the Rundgren-penned songs “Open My Eyes” and “Hello It’s Me“. (He later recorded a solo, uptempo version of “Hello It’s Me”; it became one of his signature songs.)
Nazz released three albums during this time – Nazz (1968), Nazz Nazz (1969), and Nazz III (1971). “Open My Eyes” gained belated recognition thanks to its inclusion in Nuggets (1972), the genre-defining anthology of American 1960s garage punk and psychedelia compiled by musician Lenny Kaye. The group’s second LP was originally intended as double album (titled Fungo Bat), but instead a truncated version was released as Nazz Nazz in April 1969. Rundgren’s distinctive style was informed by a wide variety of musical influences—British pop-rock (notably Pink Floyd, The Beatles, The Who, The Yardbirds, Cream and The Move), the intricate vocal harmonies of The Beach Boys, classic American rock’n’roll, Broadway musicals, the operettas of Gilbert & Sullivan and American soul and R&B, but as his music evolved he demonstrated an increasing interest in other genres as well, such as hard rock and experimental music. MORE